Omaha County Won’t Be Split in Redistricting; Other Cities Face Division

By: - September 27, 2021 12:00 am

Nebraska state Sens. Justin Wayne, a Democrat, and Lou Ann Linehan, a Republican, face each other on the first day of a special session on redistricting. A last-minute compromise prevented the division of Douglas County, where Omaha is located, into two congressional districts. Justin Wan /Lincoln Journal Star via The Associated Press

A compromise last week stopped a Nebraska Republican proposal to divide Douglas County, where Omaha is located, into two congressional districts. But in other states, lawmakers continue to debate redistricting plans that would divide liberal cities to dilute—or maximize—their political power.

In Arkansas, where redistricting starts this week, one Republican plan would divide Pulaski County, the home of state capital Little Rock, into three congressional districts. The county, which has voted Democratic since 1992, has had a single congressional representative since the 1960s.

Meanwhile, Oregon Republicans walked out of a debate on Democratic-drawn maps that would likely give a new congressional seat to a Democrat, and includes plans to divide Portland’s Multnomah County. A new proposal is scheduled to be debated this week.

In Tennessee, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper criticized a Republican plan that would divide his Nashville district to add GOP House seats. Cooper said rural Republicans are hostile toward cities.

“The kids in rural areas all want to move to the city, so they accuse us of stealing their children, when it’s just that the cities are creating the kind of environment where young people want to live,” Cooper said.

Texas, which gained two new congressional seats after last year’s census, may be taking the opposite tack by creating Democratic-rich districts in Austin, Houston and Dallas to preserve Republican power elsewhere in the state.

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.